Wednesday, September 9

My life will never be the same...

Monday night I lost an irreplaceable piece of my heart. By no stretch of the meaning of the word, I lost my soulmate; my other half that would always be there for me and filled any emptiness that would infiltrate my happiness.

Swifty passed away.

I must have told the story of how I came to meet him so many times to people. It's so hard to describe to people what he was to my family, but mostly to me; it hurts to say "my cat" or "my pet" because he wasn't either of those things. He was another part of our family. He may have been a cat, but I couldn't claim ownership of him. He did whatever he wanted to do most of the time, and I was there to help him, and he was there to help me. I remember crying so many nights over my self-esteem or over never being loved by someone, and wishing that there was a real man in the world who gave me the full love and independence that Swifty had. He would have made a perfect human, and he tried to be one most of the time. He was bothered by the fact that after four years of sleeping in my room with me, that he had been sent to live with the other cats in the laundry room (with a flip-flop door to the outside). My allergies didn't let any of the cats wander around the upstairs any longer, so there was no choice. He knew he was always welcome to come upstairs to visit though, and he could open the front door with his claws hooked around the edge to push it open with his head. I used to hear the beaded curtain in my room start to jingle as he barely brushed it and moments later he would jump onto my bed to wake me up.

I could never imagine my life without him in it. He lived through so many things in his long life; a broken hip bone as a one year old; a bout with a horrible disease that claimed three of our older cats when he was seven; he lived with a heart murmur since he was nine and the vet told us he wouldn't live much longer; and for the past three years he had an overactive thyroid that he had to take pills for twice a day - seven years after they told us he wouldn't live much longer. The thyroid eventually caused problems with his kidneys and he had lost so much weight in the last eight months that he was mostly skin and bones the last time I held him in June this year. It broke my heart, but he was still himself. The bright blue eyes and the regal face; he never looked much like ordinary cats. People always called him the baby tiger as he was twice the size of an average cat and his nose wasn't small and square but long and distinct.

His fur wasn't long but medium length, but his tail was long with orange and white fur. I remember teasing him with his own wriggling tail as a kitten and brushing the soft tufts of fur that curled out of his ears and holding his pure white paws in my hands. He would climb up on the top of a cabinet just so he could press his cheeks to my forehead to tell me how much he missed me.

I was eight years old when I met Swifty. If I'd never met him, I wouldn't be who I am today. I wouldn't have the compassion or the confidence or the knowledge of love that he gave to me. I know he loved me back, and I only have one regret; that I couldn't be there with him in his last moments. I didn't want it to end this way, but I knew he couldn't live forever the way he was. I've never felt this void before, and I know it's not the only void I will ever feel, but it's the missing of his proud purring, the painful, but loving doughing of my skin, and his very presence that I will always miss... and most importantly never be able to forget.

I love you so much Swifty. So much this doesn't do justice to how much you are already missed. I love you.

1 comment:

Alexandra Zedalis said...

Awww, I'm so sorry. I know exactly how you feel. That's how Zeb was to me. It felt like I lost my best friend because no matter what he was always there for me. Which is actually more of a dog trait than a cat one. But some cats are just like that. Swifty and Zeb.

They are both missed :(